When blog reader Leslie Lockwood told me she was scheduled for a hysterectomy, I asked her to record her experience for Friend for the Ride. She’s presenting her story in three parts. This post recounts the first hours and the first two weeks following the surgery. Thanks, Leslie!
I awoke from my surgery to the best news ever-the doctors had been able to do my entire surgery laparoscopically and had left the colon alone because there was no endometrial involvement there. What a blessing! I immediately knew my recovery would be much, much easier than I had anticipated.
I stayed in the hospital overnight, but most of us know that is pretty pointless because it is impossible to get any rest in a hospital at all. (When I had my babies, I was one of those moms who actually sent them-I know, shocking-to the nursery so I could get some rest and even then I didn’t sleep.)
Anyhow, I was hooked to an IV, had a pulse thingy taped to my finger, had the things on my legs to keep blood flow and prevent blood clots, and had oxygen in my nose. Basically, I could barely move because I was so connected, it made it impossible to do anything but lie still. Add to that the fact that people are constantly coming in to check your vitals, give you pain meds, and take your blood (that guy showed up at 4:00 am).
I went home about 24 hours after the surgery. I was amazed at how good I felt, sore, but good. I settled into my couch with my water bottle, pain meds, books/magazines, and the remote control. Family, friends, and neighbors had signed up to bring meals (many of them at my pre-hysterectomy party), so we were all set.
I had been given advice by more people than I can count, to rest, to take it easy, and to accept any offer of help that came my way. So although that really is hard to do, I listened to my doctor, my friends and my body and did pretty much nothing for two weeks. It felt almost decadent to be lounging on my couch, watching Netflix, enjoying meals from friends*, playing with Pinterest and Facebook on my Ipad, and even napping while a friend tidied up my home and organized my Tupperware cupboard, but I did it.
Yesterday was my two week check up, and I think my “vacation on the couch” has paid off. I feel great, my wounds have healed, and I am now allowed to drive again and resume most of my normal activities**.
My next check up is in four weeks and at that point, we will discuss things like how I am doing being on Estrogen (I am on a patch right now because I now have no ovaries) and if my endometrial pain has gone away (I still have sporadic pain in my left side but it could be phantom pain).
I can say now that I am feeling really good, almost back to normal. I am glad to be on the other side of this surgery. So far I have not grieved my uterus and ovaries at all.
I definitely won’t be missing the periods or the spotting I had for weeks at a time. I am excited to plan my 25th anniversary beach vacation without having to check a calendar and cross my fingers and hope and pray that I won’t be bleeding at that time. I truly feel a sense of freedom and excitement and I look to my post-hysterectomy future!
*My doctor had advised me not to eat too much. It took me about a week to get my appetite back so I listened to him and just made sure I had a little food with my meds and took a few bites each night of the lovely dinners we received. Added note for those of you who go through this: I took two Colace every day for about 6 days and drank lots of water.
**No lifting, baths, hot tub, or sex. (I still have my cervix, but it was stitched up and needs to heal.)
Photo Above: Leslie, her husband, and two girls grinning for the camera. Leslie thinks this picture was taken at the Balboa Peninsula in California. She loved going to the arcade there as a kid because you take a ferry from Balboa Island.
Photo Below: Leslie, her husband, and her youngest daughter. Leslie’s oldest daughter is now away at college.